Jason and Stephen

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When I was a young lad of 19 years old I worked in an Italian restaurant and every day before my shift my girlfriend and I would grab coffee at a nearby Starbucks. At the time I was not out of the closet and had noticed a guy around my age who worked there and soon found myself going there by myself just to see him but never would talk to him as I was very nervous. My first time at a gay club, I of course ran into him being that we live in a smaller city. We talked and got to know one another and soon my relationship with my girlfriend faded and I started dating this young man who has now been in my life for 12 years.

When thinking about the proposal to my boyfriend, many thoughts crossed my mind. Where was it to take place? How was I going to do it? What was I going to propose with? In a traditional engagement a guy gets his girlfriend an engagement ring and while the thought of my boyfriend wearing a flashy diamond did make me chuckle I didn’t think it was really the best idea. What does a man propose to another man with? A six pack? Lakers tickets? A gift card to Bass Pro Shops? I opted for bracelets. My partner Jason had always had a thing for David Yurman and bracelets are pretty transitional and can be worn more than a ring that would soon be replaced with a band.

I think the “how” was the hardest part of all. Obviously there needs to be a surprise factor so I decided to do it on his 30th birthday, that way he would just think we were celebrating that rather than thinking something else was in the mix. I invited his sister and her husband and we went to a nice dinner and then came back to our house for champagne afterwards. I set everything up on our side porch off our living room and after champagne I gave him an iPad that I bought him with a birthday card which he was excited about. Then I went inside and came out with three boxes with a bracelet wrapped in each. I made a card that consisted of no words only pictures so he had to translate it into my proposal. While opening the bracelets I got down on one knee. It was cute, romantic and memorable however, it needed to be remembered so with the help of Rochester’s best photographer Tammy Swales from Tammy Swales Studio we coordinated a stealth operation. The entire time the proposal was happening she snuck in took hundreds of pictures through the window without a flash and slipped out the back door without anyone knowing she was there. The following day she showed up at his work with the entire moment burnt to a CD in a slideshow to his favorite song that we plan to play at our wedding. The shock on his face was worth the covert operation and the memory that we have from the CD will forever keep that special day fresh in our minds.

Side note, my girlfriend at the time when I met Jason I still to this day consider a good friend and was informed a few years after Jason and I started dating that she is happy with her new girlfriend! Funny how life works out.

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Tammy Swales
 | Photography